Over ten years ago I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome due to extreme circumstances. Under current events I find I had started re-experiencing some of the symptoms of that condition, and so have had to sit down and have a good talking with myself.
I know how easy it is to get overwhelmed by all of the sadness of the world. I am worried, even frightened, about the swift increase of violence and the equally swift decrease in liberty in our western countries. These are issues of serious concern and we do need to address them. I also know that living in a state of constant concern can be demoralising, disspiriting, and can cause physical ailment.
I finally released myself from ongoing depressions a number of years ago with some realisations and changes of lifestyle that I believe will work under these conditions as well.
If I wait for circumstances to be just right to be happy, I may never be happy. This does not mean to say that I should squash feelings of anger or fear, and force myself to be happy. These can come and go, if we love them and allow them to swiftly flow through us. Rather, allow feelings of happiness, joy, wonder to flow easily as the moments arise, and actively look for such moments.
Stay focussed on today. What aspects of what I am doing today are fun, are making a difference?
Okay, focus a bit on tomorrow, but on the bit that envisions the wonder of possibility and what can go right. I like keeping a wish box in which I put cuttings of articles and pictures of how I want my future to look like.
Yeah, and I can focus a bit on the love and what did work in the past, in order to use it in my present to create a nicer future. However, if I ever get lost in thoughts of past or future in a negative sense, I know it is time to focus down again to step by step right now.
Hang out with a community of friends with which to just relax and enjoy now and again, nothing more. When I was on welfare for awhile I organised potlucks at my house, and wonderfully had leftovers I could use afterwards. At one cinema, if I could get ten friends to go together to a film, my partner and I would get free tickets. Getting together for board games is also low cost. Knowing you are a part of a loving community can bring immense amounts of strength and resolve.
I found meditation is a necessity. I need a time dedicated to becoming quiet within. I need a time to focus on getting in touch with my higher, wiser self.
I realised that everyone is needed to make the future a better place. This means it is not up to me alone to change things. Anything I can do to help is valuable. I can be proud of myself for what contributions I do manage.
Recognise my anger and where it is coming from, rather than disguising it and redirecting it through a cause. The problem with redirecting anger is that I may not be as genuinely supporting a cause, as finding a vent for emotions that cannot be resolved in this way.
Take the time to nurture, love, and like myself. This is of great importance for giving me the strength to go on with my service to this planet. Burning myself out, making myself another victim in need of rescuing, these are not going to forward my causes. Being a whole human being with the capacity for love and joy will.
Copyright © 27 September 2001, Katherine Phelps